Cheney Free Press -


By Luella Dow

Hubbard's are 'rock' solid family


Contributed photo

Jacqueline Hubbard stands in front of the family's "Rock House", constructed in Dishman Hills before World War II by her father, Master brick mason, Richard Thomas Hubbard.

This is a story about Richard Thomas Hubbard and his family. " Born in 1907, my dad lived to be a few days short of 101," son Ric Hubbard said. This brilliant man had an eighth grade education, spoke some French and German and was fluent in Spanish. He was a master brick mason and retired from masonry work in 1964 to start the Hubbard Jointers Company. He laid his last brick in 1986 when he helped Ric lay a fireplace hearth in a house Ric was building at the time.

Dick's daughter Jacqueline, whom they called Jackie, has written a book called, "The Rock House," which tells with many pictures of the days when she and Ric were very small while their dad began to build the rock house for his wife, Patrina and the children.

He was concerned that he might be drafted in World War II and leave his family without a shelter. Thankfully that didn't happen. The house was at the base of Dishman Hills, an inviting place where one can hike or just enjoy the atmosphere. Jackie said, "Dad hand-selected and hauled the basalt and granite stones for the house out of the Dishman Hills in the family car, a 1940 Ford coupe."

Ric tells us the rock house was limited by what his dad called a "man's sized rock," one that a man could lift alone, 150 pounds. Dick Hubbard was artistic. Each rock in the walls of his home had to complement other rocks nearby. With the roof and doors installed the family moved in. Richard Hubbard then took up his shovel and began to dig out the basement. It makes our own arms tired to think of it.

Somewhere in this world there's a mural painted by Richard T. Hubbard hanging on a schoolhouse wall. When Jackie and Ric attended Pratt Primary School in the Edgecliff District, their dad painted the mural to be hung in the school library.

The family soon found that young Ric Hubbard was "born to wander." Sorry Ric, but this is too good to pass by.

Here is big sister's version of the story, "Little Ricky was climbing out of his crib early in the morning and wandering to a neighbor, any neighbor, to join them for breakfast. He'd then get home before mom even knew he was gone and eat a full breakfast at home. This habit continued for most of the summer until some woman finally asked mom if we had a shortage of food at our house, evidenced by the starving waif.

Dad built a five-foot high fence around a play area in the back yard with a cleverly latched gate." Jackie said her little brother simply built a tower of boxes and toys and boards and climbed out. At last, nature solved the problem when a five-inch sliver of fence had to be surgically removed from his bottom after one of his excursions. At least Jackie thinks that might have been what stopped him.

Ric grew into a well-liked, hard-working young man. His background as a brick mason led him into construction management. Now he had a young wife, Carole, to accompany him as he worked on projects all over the world. Each project grew in size and complexity. Ric decided to retire in 1984 rather than go to the next project. It was to be the Three Gorges Dam in China that would have lasted many years. Their two daughters, Heather and Bonnie, would have to be raised in boarding school rather than as a family. Ric and Carole chose family and life in Cheney. They wanted their daughters to attend a small town school and Carole wanted to finish her master of science degree in speech pathology at Eastern Washington University. Ric came home to take over the family business from his dad. Richard Thomas Hubbard died in 2008 from complications following heart surgery. He was a mountain of a man in word and deed.

I chose a couple of quips from Jackie Volz entitled "What I learned while living in the Rock House." Here's one, "Putting thought and care into what you do for others is a way of saying 'I love you' and even more important than saying it in words." And the next one, "Little brothers can be a pain, but they make great stories." Thanks for the information from your book, Jackie. And thank you Ric and Carole for your help in shaping the story.

Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at


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